Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Are you ready for Chromium OS?

January 21, 2011 2 comments

There is a lot of hype about Google’s new open source project, Chromium OS. The new OS will run on portable devices that run strictly web based applications. An introductory model dubbed the Cr-48 is being offered by Google through a very exclusive pilot program.

The Cr-48 seems to have adopted a design similar to that of an Apple MacBook, but that’s not the reason Google thinks the new OS will become popular. Rather than placing strong focus on hardware, the new offering places emphasis on what Google does best – innovation. If you are among the lucky chosen to participate in the Cr-48 pilot, I suggest that you not focus on the hardware, but consider how the OS changes the way you interface with the web both for the better and for the worse.

Click here for a demo of the Cr-48 running ChromeOS.

The concept is cloud based, similar to services already offered by IT service providers like IBM or Amazon. Current cloud models require the user to access the cloud based system through their primary device (ie – a Windows machine). With Chromium OS, you’re sitting on the cloud 10 seconds after powering up your machine. Click here to see how the boot process has been improved compared to a traditional device.

There is no more concept of what Google refers to as “legacy” applications. This means that your brand new copy of Microsoft Office 2010 would be considered obsolete since it is not one of the cloud based applications available on Chromium OS (nor could it be installed on your machine running the OS). Rather than local storage hosting your content, you rely solely on the cloud for all your computing needs.

The Cr-48 (and I suspect all Chromium OS models) has built in Wi-Fi, and also a 3G card capable of picking up a signal if you do not have an internet connection available (same connection your modern hand held device uses).

So now that you know the basics (if you didn’t already)…do you think we ready for a device that relies solely on an infrastructure that still lacks the speed to keep up with features of lesser powerful modern devices? Take the iPhone for example. The iPhone relies pretty heavily on an internet connection of some type, and many of the features of the iPhone are restricted by our internet capabilities (ie – Tethering, FaceTime, ). Take away the iPhones internet connection however, and you still have the ability to use the apps loaded on to the device that do not require a signal to function (ie – you can still play Angry Birds if you’re lost in the woods). Take away the signal from a device running Chromium OS, and you have a nice paper weight with a built in flashlight.

The good news? Your devices become simply an interface to the same portal hosting the same content you have personalized over a period of time. For example, I have a Windows desktop, a laptop running Windows, a netbook running Windows, a MacBook Air, and a few Windows desktops I use at work. Sure, all my own machines are running on a home LAN and I can access files from any machine assuming they’re all turned on and have acquired an IP from my wireless router, and I can also access my work files by turning on my VPN….but I have a hard time remembering which applications and files are on which machine. Even if I had the best memory in the world, is that something I want to waste my brain power on?

What if you could access your personalized content (ie – desktop, personal settings, etc) not just through your device, but through any device? Yeah…you can do it now with one of those subscription based apps running on your PC that is always connected to the internet whenever you need it, right? Actually, my trusty $220/mo internet connection is down as we speak and I can’t even submit this post when I’m finished until it comes back up. What if you didn’t have your device with you and needed to access some content, or even just wanted to check your email on a friends device without hunting around on his device only to find he only invokes his browser through command line because he deleted his shortcut by accident and never figured out how to get it back? Just log off of his account, log in with your credentials, and it’s as if you had your device all along.

What about the concept of having all your content hosted on a “cloud” that you can’t touch or feel? What happens when that cloud is down, and all you wanted to do was look up the address for that interview you’re running late for (because you know that’s the only time it would ever actually go down, right?)?

For me, there are some things I prefer to be hosted elsewhere, but other things that I prefer to store locally. For example, I am comfortable with the fact that my email is hosted by Google and not taking up precious space on my own devices. Initially, I was outraged by the fact that Google thought they could store my precious emails whether they were doing me a favor by hosting it or not. When I delete an email, is it actually deleted from all their servers? Probably not…

Have you or anyone you know been locked out of GMail for one reason or another (ie – forgot password, hacked, stolen, sold on a Chinese auction site, etc…) and tried to recover within a reasonable amount of time? I’m pretty sure that most of the time, you can just kiss that account goodbye. Let’s face it…Google does not offer the kind of support most folks expect from their (albeit free) services. Can you afford to lose all your personalized content and applications because of an account issue that Google could not reach out to you within some kind of reasonable SLA to address quickly?

So let’s just look at the features highlighted by Chrome OS. I want to comment on each separately since there are only 6:

Instant web: Boot time in 10 seconds, and instantly wakes up from sleep. Sounds like my MacBook Air (only it might boot faster than 10s). Websites load quickly and smoothly…nothing new there. And let’s be honest…support for Flash wasn’t considered a feature until the iPhone lacked it.

Same experience everywhere: This is the bread and butter, I’ve already commented about the benefits of this above.

Always connected: 100MB of free 3G isn’t all that much, especially if this is a primary device being used for multimedia. It seems we should be past the point where we’re paying for “Always connected” these days anyway. In my opinion, if anyone is going to lead the way into free mobile internet access, it should be Google.

Security built in: While this doesn’t really sound like a “feature”, Google has done lots to ensure the protection of your data on the cloud. There is an interesting video here on the details. It is still not known how secure the data actually will be once your friendly neighborhood hacker becomes more familiar with the architecture of the OS, but sounds like a good implementation to me.

Forever fresh: Simple enough. I’m not sure how much easier updates could get than what most modern OS’s already have today.

Amazing web apps: From what I’ve seen in the demo video, this looks pretty exciting. I’m not sure anyone really uses CD’s to install software anymore, but nice to highlight anyway.

I don’t doubt that the way we access our personalized content will significantly change over the course of time, but are we ready for something like this just yet? Consider the advantages/disadvantages I’ve touched on, and let me know your thoughts on this technology.


Google Latitude

December 14, 2010 3 comments

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I got an email notification on an old forum thread that was resurrected today regarding the mildly anticipated iPhone app release of Google Latitude. Well…it’s here.

Back in February ’09, Google launched a free service called “Latitude” (anyone heard of/remember it?). The service allows you and your friends to see where each other are located. Not exactly where, but roughly which town that person is in. And….that’s it. The two friends that I actually do have on Google Latitude (and possibly in life…) have not updated their location in 603 days, and 254 days which, I suspect, is the same day they registered for Google Latitude.

It’s an interesting idea, but has not been adopted very quickly, if at all. Maybe it’s a novelty/proof of concept, maybe it’s not good as a standalone app, or maybe I just don’t have all that many friends. My guess is that as a standalone app, no one is all that interested in findout out roughly where I am unless they can add a comment, see pictures, come find me, etc…. Sound familiar?

I’m interested in hearing from you on why you’re not interested in Google Latitude. Is it because it’s just too personal to share, even with friends? Couldn’t make that birthday party? Yeah you could…because I just saw on Google Latitude that you were right down the street at the bar…by yourself!! Or is it because no one else followed suit when you registered the first day it was launched, or maybe you just weren’t all that impressed with it.

Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts on this technology!!!


Hello!  Now that I know I’ve probably taken the last WordPress username known to man, let’s get started!

I’ve posted lots of content in other places (ie – forums, newsgroups, etc…), but this is my first blog!  I really hope you will take the time to read as I share my interests and open opinions about various technologies or technology related topics.

I am hopeful that my blog is unique to this community, and especially to the larger community (the www).  There are lots of self proclaimed technology experts out there, but if you’ve been out there browsing reviews as much as I have, you probably share some of the same thoughts.  I have recently felt an obligation to write them down!

Am I a technology expert?  Maybe.  Have I ever written any piece of content that would validate my credentials as anything close to it?  No.  Do technology experts exist?  I’m not sure.  There are a lot of opinions out there, but I haven’t found the person that I would want to have the final say in all things technology related.

I am an expert in my field, but am not here to discuss the details of what I do.  That’s not why I’m here.  In fact, I’m here to discuss everything but.  I spend enough time talking shop at work, and do not want my blog to reflect who I am between 12 – 8PM, Monday – Friday (EST).  Yes, nice hours, eh?

I’ve been all over the internet, and started at a relatively young age.  I am 27 years old, and only divulge this because it is probably relevant for readers to really be able to critique/understand my thoughts.

I started using the internet regularly when I was 11 years old, and quickly became interested in a larger community.  I was in to hardware, software, and anything technology related.  I used to troll IRC chat rooms for the opportunity to chime in with some unique position on anything technology related.  I became an operator in a help channel (chat room), and learned a great deal about all kinds of different technologies and practices.

Back then (I know, it wasn’t terribly long ago…but from an evolution perspective of the internet, it really was!!), conversations lasted in chat rooms.  Folks would not give 1/2 answers (a la <insert forum name here>), chime in with negative/racists remarks when they didn’t understand something (a la YouTube), or give answers that were nothing more than outright guesses (a la Yahoo! Answers).  I picked up endless amounts of information about programming, hardware/software troubleshooting, you name it, I was interested in it.  From an “experience” perspective, it was probably the largest contributor to my professional career in technology.

I recognize there are all kinds of “techies” out there, and I even hesitate to use the word since it does not reveal much about a persons interests or expertise.  There are those who are self-taught, those who pursued a technical degree at a community or state college (ie – Computer Engineering/Science, MIS, IT, etc..), those who pursued a “high power” technical degree at a school like M.I.T, and those who participated in some/all of the above.

For the aspiring technologist looking for information about which path to take, let me touch on this briefly.  I know many brilliant and successful people from each one of those walks mentioned above, and I have no opinion on which one is better than the other.  Probably because no one is better than the other.  I’m not going to say which one I came from just yet (not that anyone even cares just yet either), because I have some thoughts to share about them first.

Some will say those who went to expensive universities to pursue a technical degree wasted their time and money, but I’m not sure that is the case.  There are so many opportunities to participate in large projects at places like M.I.T, that you truly get that “real world” experience during your educational career.  Those employers looking for real world experience would mostly not be let down hiring someone fresh out of one of these big tech schools.

From my experience, those who are self-taught typically fall on extreme sides of the spectrum.  They are either brilliant to the point where you cannot teach some of the knowledge they posses, or they’re sitting in a suit and tie on YouTube, reviewing the new features of the latest PS3 firmware update.

As far as that “regular” IT degree, those tend to be the folks that are “good to go”.  The ones who took their coursework seriously are usually ready to begin their career in most technology related fields, and will become experts with little guidance and experience.  Point is, all of these paths get your mind where it needs to be to succeed in a tech related field.  Ok, enough with the inspirational speaking.
I just want to provide some good reading, and good conversation with those that share the same interests in technology in general.  I’ll write some topics geared for the consumer technologist, the IT professional, the aspiring technologist, and then probably a few others.

Given the relevance of the topic, I’ll start with an iPad review.  I’m not terribly interested or disinterested in the iPad, but have a perspective that I have not yet seen voiced.  So, this wraps up the intro.  I’m going to start my review now.  Keep checking back for updates, and feel free to comment however, and whenever you’d like!  Thanks for reading so far!!